Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

Essay by trafficking August 2004

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Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

When Prof. Martin Patt of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell retired from active teaching in 2002, he began to devote both time and energy to new projects as they captured his attention. Lately he has been focusing on human trafficking and modern day slavery and developing a related resource website [ ] that packs quite a punch in demonstrating the reality of modern day slavery. His website features a list of countries. Clicking on a country brings up a description of its human trafficking situation followed by a list of current related web-links.

We learn, for example, that when a boy named Joseph, from Benin, was 13 years old, a stranger arranged with his parents for him to go to neighboring Togo to make a better life, but of course it didn't turn out that way. He was made to work from 5 A.M.

to 11 P.M. every day as a domestic servant and he was regularly beaten. After saving money for three years, he was able to afford to phone home. This ultimately brought about his rescue by an uncle.1

Perhaps like you, I too had thought that slavery was an institution of the past, with the exception of a few isolated Middle Eastern and African states. How utterly wrong I was! Prof. Patt shows that the more you look, the more evil you find. Sadly, I am learning that we live in a somewhat dark world, and that there are not hundreds, nor thousands, but millions of people trapped in slave-like situations of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.

Prof. Patt posts a link to a PBS report about Thonglim Kampiranon, a 43-year-old mother of two from rural Thailand, who was one of three Thai women trafficked to Los Angeles to work...